Welcome to the Wallpaper* Design Awards issue – celebrating the very best in design over the past 12 months. And what an exceptional year it was, with tremendous creativity that helped us through challenging times to build a brighter future.

We are delighted to welcome multimedia artist and impresario Doug Aitken, filmmaker and interior designer Luca Guadagnino, London Design Medal laureate Ilse Crawford, architect Sou Fujimoto, culinary evangelist Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro, and fashion designer Simone Rocha as our esteemed panel for the Judges’ Awards. A heartfelt thank-you to all our judges for the time, care and wisdom they put into their selections.

The remaining awards have been selected by Wallpaper* and our family of contributors from around the world. Tom Sachs’ brilliantly imaginative Rocket Factory is a particular highlight, signalling his first foray into the world of NFTs (and the best montage we’ve seen of Miami Vice credits).

We have transparent audio equipment that feels indistinguishable from magic; a jaw-dropping mitten watch by Cartier, 3D-printed in rose gold and meticulously set with nearly 1,600 diamonds; LG’s next-level face mask, incorporating Hepa filters and a voice amplification system; Anne Boysen’s ‘Moonsetter’ lamp for Louis Poulsen, a kinetic design with a celestial glow; Kengo Kuma’s IWA sake brewery in Japan, with a remarkable roof profile; Hussein Chalayan’s tableware for Karaca, which stacks into sculptural compositions; and Porky Hefer’s marine monsters, sounding the alarm for the burgeoning problem of ocean waste. We also round up the best looks from the S/S 2022 shows, a handsome drinks cabinet and top tipples for our dream drinking den, fantastic furniture upcycled from offcut marble and wood, metallic marvels, and sensational sculpted forms.

And no awards should be complete without fireworks – so we invited artist and feminist icon Judy Chicago to design our limited-edition subscriber cover – which showcases Forever de Young, her biggest ever public performance, staged in front of San Francisco’s de Young Museum on the occasion of her first retrospective. Epic and exhilarating, this is a fitting celebration for a visionary for whom widespread acclaim is long overdue.

There are so many wonderful things to choose from over the past year – yet at the same time I have been relieved by the more focused selection of designs being presented, which enables designers and brands to tell stronger stories with greater clarity and conviction.

It is always an inspiration to celebrate the designers and brands that have the vision to think differently, combined with the talent and integrity to bring that to fruition, which leads us to look forward optimistically to 2022. I hope you enjoy the issue!

Sarah Douglas